A good example is when Uber changed their logo and it resulted in as much as 44% who didn’t recognize the company behind the new logo. Additionally, 64% preferred the old logo instead. In other words, change is not always for the better. If you are going to make changes, you must secure a solid strategy to back up your decision.
Who is your target audience?
At the end of the day your brand and its position is established in the market by the consumers. There are expectations to fulfil and it is essential that you understand these expectations throughout your rebranding process. The new brand needs to create perceptions that are newer and better for the same audience who have already chosen your current brand as the preferred one.
Who are you?
As part of the new strategy, look to the existing brand through a different pair of eyes. How have you previously communicated your brand? Study your vision, and what’s your mission? What associations do you want your market and audience to associate with your brand?
Remember the example in the introduction with Uber. It is crucial that you make it clear who you are and ensure that this reflects the entire brand chain. This is also where brand consistency comes in. Studies show that consumers need to be exposed between five and seven times before they remember a brand. Now communication becomes especially important and if not done right, it can be expensive.
Shape your brand identity
When you know who you are communicating with and how you need to communicate, you can start working on the more visual elements of your strategy.
In short, this is more or less all elements that communicates your brand: Logo, colors, typeface, slogan, and elements such as promotional items, business cards and similar material.
Keep in mind, there is a reason why we call the things connected to your brand identity "elements". It’s not the brand itself, but the visual extension of your brand.
The brand identity becomes the most important element that communicates your brand and empowers how the market perceives the actual brand. To highlight an example that explains the impact of a brand identity and how easily it can be placed in consumers mind: If we ask you what color the McDonalds logo has, you probably didn’t hesitate long before the color yellow came to mind?
Stay loyal to your brand guidelines
McDonalds is a good example of the importance of clear and well-defined brand guidelines that everyone follows. If McDonalds was randomly using different logo colors or constantly changing the shape of the well-known arch, yellow would probably not come to mind as quick as it did in the previous paragraph.
A rebranding is extensive and when you are responsible for the brand identity you also need to make sure it is used correctly. It is particularly important that the guidelines for your new brand is respected and followed to avoid communication chaos by using old and new communication interchangeably.
This is what your guidelines should incorporate
To ensure zero unclarities, make sure your guidelines include:
Logo - Updated logo, in different formats needs to be available, including “how to use” guidelines.
Colors - Color swatches and clear guidelines on how to use the colors in visual communication needs to be addressed.
Typography - Let there be no doubt on what font(s) are allowed and how to use them.
Visual elements – The use of icons or other graphical elements such as patterns must be explained and available.
Social media rules - What expectations do you have for sharing and publishing company related posts?
Code library – Digital platforms demands its own set of guidelines for buttons, fonts, colors and more, make sure to have it in place.
Create an execution roadmap
A huge part of the strategy is the actual execution. Let’s draw a metaphor. One of the most popular Track and Field (Athletics) practice is the 100 meters sprint. The runners are well-prepared before the race and they understand 100% what will happen when the opening shot fires. They have a plan for how to get to the finished line, hopefully first.
With this image fresh in mind, imagine your brand preparing to complete a 100-meter sprint. Without solid preparations and understanding of what to do when the race starts and a complete lack of understanding and plan on how to cross the finish line, your race will consist of runners left at the starting line, others are running in different directions and are most likely crashing into each other. With a little bit of luck maybe a couple of runners manages to cross the finish line at the end. But the journey to get there was chaotic.
If you initiate a rebranding process without any execution plan, this is a realistic scenario. Make sure everyone in your company knows your plan and safeguard a smooth journey towards the finish line as soon as the race starts.
When live – analyze your performance
Remember that a rebranding strategy is not over when you go live. One element that enables athletes to constantly improve their time and achievements is their continuous analysis of their achieved accomplishments. This is also what you must do after launching your new brand. The lesson and insight you gain from the launch can help you in your daily communication or prior to the next launch or rebranding.
Bear in mind, patience is key. Building a brand does not happen overnight, it requires time. Make sure you organize your time well and correct from the very beginning. If you fumble and run in different directions, your goals for brand consistency vanishes. Brand awareness is non-existing, and your rebranding fails.